Bollywood Legends - Amrish Puri


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Amrish Puri

With a deep dominating voice and a stately demeanor, Amrish Puri ruled the Bollywood industry as an exemplary actor. Born with the name, Amrish Lal Puri on June 22nd, 1932, in Nawanshehar (Jallandhar). He graduated from BM College in Simla, Himachal Pradesh. Amrish came to Bombay with not even hundred rupees in his pocket and made it so big with his sheer hard work, perseverance, and disciplined lifestyle.

Believe it or not, Amrish Puri wanted to be a Bollywood movie hero but failed a screen test in 1954. Starting his career in the Bollywood industry at the ripe age of almost 40, Amrish Puri proved to be one of the most talented villains in the history of Bollywood with his image as an actor rising to iconic status. He debuted in Reshma aur Shera in which he blend into the background with another long wait until He was cast by Shyam Benegal in some of his films, namely 'Nishaant', 'Manthan and 'Bhumika. Meanwhile Amrish Puri following his brother Madan Puri’s footsteps made a name for himself in theatre. He had also lent his voice to several advertisement jingles.

Amrish’s first commercial success came with his role of duryodhana in Hum Panch, a modern day version of Ramayana. With films like ‘Vidhaata’ and ‘Hero’ becoming hits, Amrish Puri became a star villain. This is when Hollywood came calling with Steven Spielberg casting him as the main villain, Mola Ram in his film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984. This has been his best-known role outside of India. In this film he acts as a cult leader of Thugees who perform supernatural spiritual rites by sacrificing kids on the Alter to Kali. He gained appreciation for his role in Nagina but his career defining role was yet to come as Mogambo in Shekhar Kapoors’ Mr. India. In this role Amrish played a terrorist named Mogambo who encourages his underlings with the phrase “Mogambo khush hua”. This phrase became immensely popular after the release of the film and the film is still remembered with it.

After his role as Mogambo, Amrish became a staple Bollywood actor. He went on to play many supporting roles, including his famous role as Baldev Singh in the Indian blockbuster Dilwale Dulhaniya le jayenge! While he is best known for his work as a villain, he has also played the "good guy" at times. He was a kind-hearted American businessman in Pardes (1997) and a genial grandfather in the film Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (2000).

Amrish Puri has received the filmfare award in a supporting role thrice in the years 1986, 1997 and 1998 for the films Meri Jung, Ghatak and Virasat respectively.

He also won the Star Screen Videocon Awards for the Best Supporting Actor for Ghatak and Virasat.

Amrish Puri worked in Bollywood, Hollywood, Punjabi, Telugu and Tamil films. Though he was successful in all of these industries, he is best known for his work in Bollywood cinema.

His last film was Kisna: The Warrior Poet. The film was released a few days after his death due to brain haemorage.